Instructables

How to Make Your own Plasma Cutter.... (Plasma Cutter Kits Coming Soon!!)

Picture of How to Make Your own Plasma Cutter.... (Plasma Cutter Kits Coming Soon!!)
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Check out new video of the Plasanator on utube.com

http://youtu.be/enELHZ7dP2I

This Ebook is designed for Guys and Gals who like to create tools and machinery.

I hope my Ebook gives you hope that no matter how hard a project may seem, keep plugging away until you finish and you will succeed.

I spent 3 years putting this together and now finally all my hard work and research has paid off.

I studied diagrams from commercial venders, but to no luck. They tend to leave a lot out – on purpose - so it’s hard to reproduce their design. I’ve see different attempts at people making their own on You Tube and other sites, but what a death trap. Messy water resistors and wiring like a darn Christmas tree.

So I began reading books and articles on their workings and took my home schooled-knowledge of electronics to build my own plasma cutter. I was determined; failure was not an option.

I started by collecting parts from old microwaves, stoves, water heaters, air conditioners, car parts and more in the hopes of creating a low budget way to create a plasma cutter for myself. I mounted it all on a simple piece of scrap wood; well it’s scrap wood now. We, didn’t need that table anyway (shhhhhhh don’t tell the wife).

Then one day it all came together. I hit the power switch, placed the head to the metal, started the arc, felt the air kick and then a second hard kick (the current being drawn into play). Then BAM, it was slicing through quarter inch steel like a hot knife through butter.

How sweet it sounded! I felt the amazement of completing a project that I just couldn’t let go of.

So, take your time, enjoy and be safe.

The Plasaman



 
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PetrieJ3 days ago

Is is possible to make a 1A plasma cutter? I need to cut very thin pieces of 304, but because of the geometry and composition of the parts I am currently stuck chemically etching the material away.

Plasanator (author)  PetrieJ2 days ago
I wouldn't think so and plasma cutting would leave spray all over pcb board.
I recommend using A laser or Drexel tool.
dthompson3211 months ago
great job,, where can i salvage the high voltage bridge rectifier. i can't seem to find anything that uses one that can handle this much voltage,,other than just buying a new one, thx
Plasanator (author)  dthompson329 months ago
Its a 3 phase rectifier and you only need it to be 220 volts max
Plasanator (author)  Plasanator8 days ago

yhttp://www.ebay.com/itm/231266189909?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

This is link on eBay where I bought some rectifiers.

These work great and will handle all your power needs.

image.jpg
V4V17 days ago

i cant understand why you connect the caps at this strange way. after the bridge you have a plus and a minus full rectified source. so the caps should take this dc voltage.
why do you connect the caps back to the AC line?

Plasanator (author)  V4V16 days ago
It forms a voltage doubler circuit.
rodalino17 days ago

Can this cut aluminum and stainless sheets?

Plasanator (author)  rodalino16 days ago
Yes it can and does very well.
swampfox44026 days ago

What is the water heater element for ? Don't see it anywhere in these pictures.

Plasanator (author) 4 months ago

Hey all just solder a wire to the hv coil instead of zip tying it and cover solder with silicone of any kind.

wkdavistx6 months ago
If i am putting 240v to the contactor does that mean I'm putting 240v to the air solenoid? I am also reading 650v on the dc side of the rectifier. I am replacing both of these parts (fried the 110v solenoid).
Thank you.
Plasanator (author)  wkdavistx4 months ago

No then you have it hooked up wrong.

The air solenoid goes before the contactor on the input side through a relay.

pgladek1 year ago
Sorry, I also forgot to ask...it might be hard to find a ford / chevy ignition coil out here, so is there anything specific I should look for when I pick one out, or any minimum specs needed? Also, is there any purpose to mounting the stud on the ignition coil, other than as a place to attach the connections? And what does the water heater element specifically do?

its a dump load. instead of a large amount of copper or aluminum. he went with that tho it needs a bigger heat sink tho.

Plasanator (author)  pgladek1 year ago
here are some picures of one I done a few months ago.
019.JPG021.JPG035.JPG036.JPG040.JPG042.JPG
Plasanator (author)  pgladek1 year ago
Yes the studd is just for mounting purposes but instead go ahead and solder a lead to coil and fill around it with silicone for protection.
I do that now for all my cutters.
The element is your load resister and is what draws and dictates the amount of current used.
Two in parallel will draw more current for cutting thicker material.
My new unit I used some square tubing from treadmill and a blower also from a microwave to cool coils down to last longer.
astral_mage6 months ago

this pic should've been fist page not third or forth in line.

wkdavistx7 months ago

If you were building one that was 40A, what would you use to control the output amperage while cutting? I was thinking about a solid state voltage regulator like this one:

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=produc...

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Keith

SSVR40A2.jpg
Plasanator (author)  wkdavistx7 months ago

I don't build them that big so I can't say, sorry.

pclifford7 months ago

(Please correct me if im wrong)

i was wondering if your build is using a frequency from your instructions i dont see anything that would generate a frequency other than starting arc. the reason im asking is i have a wire feed welder that im going to add the plasma cutting feature to it and use both welder and cutter. the welder is set up to use ac only witch i can convert to dc by using your instruction and the add a separate hook up for the plasma cutter but in order to for the welder to work it needs to have some sort of freq..

From my under standing a plasma cutter operates at 10khz or more how is yours working with converting it to dc it should be a pulsing dc at 60 HZ + or - and you add the CAPS in there witch would add a smoothing affect to the frequencies and bring it down to almost nothing.

Thank you

Plasanator (author)  pclifford7 months ago

no just 60 hz

wkdavistx9 months ago
Plasanator,
Thanks for all the time and effort put into this. Great job!
Any thoughts on using a 208V/208V transformer from a UPS system and 2 heating elements? I figure this will give me 24A at 208V at the torch and may be able to cut 1/2" steel.
Thanks,
Keith
Plasanator (author)  wkdavistx7 months ago

It will work fine if around 5kva but 3/8 inch will be most your gonna cut through.

Plasanator (author)  wkdavistx9 months ago
Yep that's right 208v is just fine.

So I was able to procure a 5kva transformer (240 primary - 240/120 secondary). If I run 240 to the contactor what happens to the capacitors when connected to double the voltage? Are 350v capacitors ok? What other changes should I make besides using 2 heating elements?

Thanks again!

DanW138 months ago

Joe I have to ask a few question, one is about those Heating elements which you say are just current resistors….Do these ever get hot to where a fan may/might be needed to keep them cooled ? The other is about the Capacitors you show in your phots that are Blue in color but I don't recall seeing any specs as to the size required for the plasma cutter, if you don't mind can you give me the specs on what the min/Max sizes are for those 2 Capacitors please ? Thank's, I hope to have one build by end of this month if all goes well with rounding up parts :)

Plasanator (author)  DanW137 months ago

Hey Dan yes they will so I mounted my new ones in a steel tube from a tread mill and put a blower from a microwave on it to cool them down.

1800 microfarads at 350 volts minumum the lager the better.

mattc1728 months ago
what type of equipment would you find the 2 cap in
Plasanator (author)  mattc1728 months ago
the big caps are on ebay many to look at around 25 to 50 bucks
mattc1728 months ago
for my run capacitor can use a ge 97f9383, in place of the one you used. if i do what would be the out come.
Plasanator (author)  mattc1728 months ago
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO this is not the right kind of cap and its way to low in microfarrads.
can i use it in place of the microwave cap
Plasanator (author)  mattc1728 months ago
Yes that would be fine.
Hi kaolex, Thanks a millon
kaoalex10 months ago
Hi Kenneth,

I used this schematic.

You can found more details in the PowerLabs site.
http://www.powerlabs.org/flybackdriver.htm

I used this type of flyback with internal diode.
circuitdiagram.giffly-back-b323453-pcm1441-42-43-44-45-46-rcp-_1_600_false.jpgcircuitdiagram.gif
kaoalex10 months ago
Plasanator, Thanks a lot for sharing this incredible project. I did some progress to construct mine own plasma cutter machine based on you schematic. Check out the first cut.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM7arB8Gvoc

I used a TV flyback instead of a car coil. I plugged the HV+ to the tip of torch. As you can see in the video i still have some difficulty to start the plasma. Have you any idea to improve my machine? Thanks a lot!
Hi,

Can you post schematics of you TV flyback setup? I'm having trouble with the car coil, maybe I can solve-it with your setup

Thanks
More pics of the same thing!
DSCN0001.JPGDSCN0002.JPGDSCN0003.JPGDSCN0004.JPG
Hi Joe, The 30k goes to the main plasma head which in turn goes to the caps & rectifier right? Then the extra wire from one of the coils is the added (yellow wire), right? Does the paper clip with the yellow wire has to touch the cap (tip) of the plasma gun? I've attached some photos of the high current circuit and plasma head details. Is it right? Sorry to annoy you again, your help is much appreciated. Thanks Ken.
DSCN0004.JPG
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